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Occurrences involving birds and other wildlife are reportable and subject to analysis. 2017 saw the number of worldwide reports of birdstrikes to the CAA rise to almost 3,500 , indicating a steady increase in the five year period from 2013 to 2017.

Of the 3,042 birdstrikes involving a UK aircraft, 4.5% involved damage to the aircraft. While most of the damage caused is often superficial, commercial aircraft must successfully complete a battery of tests after an incident. These are designed to ensure that safe operation can be continued. This is especially true where a bird has been suspected of being ingested into the engine. In 2017, there were 280 cases where birds were ingested by jet engines, 40 of which involved damage to the aircraft.

According to the data available, about 80% of the confirmed birdstrikes in the UK occurred at, or in the vicinity of, airports. However, not all bird species present the same hazard: their weight, size and the number of birds involved have to be considered when analysing these occurrences.

Birdstrike occurrences are generally very specific to a location or region and are highly seasonal. In 2017, 46% of reports within the UK happened in the three month period between July and September. Understanding more about the geography and habitat of a particular site, and identifying the bird species involved and their routines are among the fundamental steps necessary to create and implement an effective wildlife hazard management action plan. We work closely with airlines, airports, National Aviation Authorities, other organisations and experts to identify, address and mitigate the potential risk of birdstrikes. The UK Birdstrike Committee is the UK national forum to present, share and discuss these safety issues. You can find additional information in CAP 772: Wildlife Hazard Management at Aerodromes.

Birdstrikes 2017

  • 3,488 reported birdstrikes in 2017
  • 3,042 involving UK Aircraft in the UK or Abroad
  • 136 birdstrikes resulted in damage

Birdstrikes with damage by impact location

Nose, Windshield or fuselage 6
Landing gear 1
Engine 40
Wings or flight controls 5

Excludes unidentified locations; not mutually exclusive.

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